Tag Archives: stand up comedy

Write Short Jokes

I could have written Write Concise Jokes, but it was longer.


In this blog, Write Short Jokes, I’ll discuss the importance of keeping jokes, especially one-liner, short and to the point. As Shakespeare wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Nothing kills a good joke more certainly than smothering it with an avalanche of unnecessary words and information. I talked a little about this subject when you were first learning to write a punch. Here is an excellent example from my own experience as a teacher of joke writing. A student of mine, Terry R. Jackson, brought a very funny but overwritten joke into class. “I just went through a long and messy separation, which ended in a divorce from my wife. So, after all that, I went on a vacation to Denmark because I was having a sex change. The sex change was from not very often to nothing at all.” T

Handling Hecklers – Part 5

Sometimes Less is More


  In my previous blogs Handling Hecklers Parts 1- 4, I’ve given some fairly well known tips for crushing hecklers like the cockroaches they are. In this blog, Handling Hecklers Part 5, I’ll offer a couple of more gentle approaches for helping overzealous audience members to shut up.    Sincerely Ask Them to Stop Commenting I know this seems too simple to be true, but it really works. Since most hecklers think they’re helping your show, sometimes just nicely asking them to, “Please stop commenting,” can be enough. I’ve even gone so far as to admit that I’m not as good as they are and to please give me a chance. It’s so disarming to have the performer pleasantly request to stop commenting that most people will agree. After all,

Handling Hecklers – Part 4

The art of comedy Aikido.


In my previous blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 3, I discussed using heckler lines to get heckler to back down and shut up. In this blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 4, I offer several more tips for dealing with obnoxious morons. Never Invite the Heckler on Stage Guess why I know about this. When I was first beginning back in the mid-70's in San Francisco, I was working at a hole-in-the-wall club known as the Holy City Zoo. I was being heckled mercilessly when I lost my temper and said, “If you think you can do any better, then come up and try.” This one did. He pushed me out of the way and proceeded to tell one really funny joke. The guy running the open mike night came over, I thought to help me, but instead he told the heckler to get off stage, then turned on me and yelled, “There are t

Handling Heckler – Part 2

What mental state are you from?


It’s helpful if you’ve read my blog Handling Hecklers – Part 1, as it explains some of the psychology. In this blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 2, I’ll explain three principles that can help you to maintain the correct state of mind to successfully keep yourself and your show within your control. Remain Playful When handling hecklers, no matter how strong your comments, they still must be in the spirit of fun. If it appears that you’re trying to hurt the heckler, the audience will turn against you because the hurt line has been crossed. Remember, whatever state you’re in, the audience is in. If you become mean and vengeful, the audience will become mean and vengeful. The heckler may be messing up your show, but you can always make it worse by attacking without

Handling Hecklers – Part 1

Tips to cure an audience disease.


Being mercilessly heckled is the third most common fear associated with doing stand-up comedy. Just the prospect of being heckled deters some beginners from getting on stage because they don’t know if they’ll be able to cope with it. But, as with all things, the reality isn’t nearly as frightening as our fantasy. When handling a heckler, your goal is to remain in charge of yourself and your show. Handling hecklers effectively is a skill that is only acquired through a great deal of stage experience. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to stave off the scourge: Most Hecklers Think They’re Helping Most hecklers are misguided, not malicious. They like you and want to help, so they yell out comments they think make the show funnier. They’re not familiar with concepts

2 Writing Tips to Make Any Show Funnier

WTF = Write The Funny


There are several writing tip professional comedians know that can punch up a show. They have certain cues within a show or script and are easy to implement. Wrting Tips 1: Use “K” Words The hard consonant sounds, especially “K,” which include hard “C” and “Qu” and, to a lesser extent, “T”, “P”, hard “G”, “D” and “B,” tend to be funnier. Using words with hard consonants, instead of synonyms with softer sounds can really improve a joke. Yes, I’m perfectly aware that this seems a little silly, but it happens to be true. Most comics who’ve been in the business long enough will tell you the same thing. “Words with a “K” in them are funny.” - Neil Simon For instance

Lessons from Comedy for Business

Are you missing what's right in front of you?


I’ve taught stand-up comedy for more than three decades. There are lessons I’ve learned about being funny that also apply to other aspects of life. But often we just don’t think to use them when we're not performing. For example, here’s something I teach my students: Do the show that’s in front of you … not the one in your head. I know this lesson very well because I remind my students of it in almost every class. Yet, I don’t always apply it in other contexts. Like the time I designed for my wife and me a wonderful week-long jaunt up the California coast, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I’d spent a great deal of time on research and booking B&Bs, remote cabins, and cliff side hotels. Alas, when we got to our first stop, San Luis Obispo, the car broke down. It was on a Saturday evening. The closest car repair shop couldn’t get the required part until Monday and our car wouldn’t be fixed until Tuesday. I was upset and frustr

Assumptions and Joke Writing – Part 3 – Greg Dean Comedy Tips 10


  In my previous blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 2, I explained how understanding assumptions lead to uncovering more joke mechanisms. In this blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 3, I’ll discuss the mechanism between the target assumption and reinterpretation, and how this lead to creating my original joke writing system The Joke Prospector. Greg Dean Comedy Tips 10: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 3 After a year of teaching joke structure wi

Assumptions and Joke Writing – Part 2 – Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9


  In my previous blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 8: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 1, I showed the process I went through to understand the assumption’s role in joke structure. In this blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 2, I’ll explain how assumptions lead to uncovering corresponding joke mechanism in the punch. Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9:

Assumptions and Joke Writing – Part 1 – Greg Dean Comedy Tips 8


In my previous blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 7: Understanding Joke Misdirection - Part 3, I examined how misdirection works with Existing Information Jokes in the Immediate Environment. In this blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 8: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 1, I’ll demonstrate the role of assumptions in all jokes. Greg Dean Comedy Tips 8: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 1 When I became a stand-up comedy teacher in 1982, I had a c

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